Does medication really affect eyelash extensions?
When we carry out our client consultations we must ask our clients if they are on any medication. If they are then these must be listed onto their client record forms.
You may have experienced answers like, 'I'm only on one tablet a day, nothing that will affect my lashes.' Or even worse, I have experienced this a few times, your client will say they are not on medication and then during their lash application they are chatting away and start telling you about their trip to the contraception clinic..........Hello! This is a medicine too.
So what is the big deal? Let me show you.
This is a diagram of the anatomy of the hair follicle. If you look closely you can see the follicle is connected to the bodies blood supply via a vein and an artery. So what does this have to do with medication?
When medication enters the body it will always end up within the bodies blood stream. Depending on the form of the medication, either liquid, tablet/capsule, pessary, injection or via inhaler, this will determine how long it will take to reach the bloodstream.
Whichever method of administration was used, within 24 hours the medication will be delivered to every hair follicle of the body, this includes our natural eyelashes.
But will this have any effect? Absolutely!
The effects on the lashes will be completely different for each drug, depending on what it is treating and some will actually benefit our lashes.
Knowing this information will ensure you are ready for your clients that may be on medication and what may happen to their lashes.
Examples of conditions and have they affect lashes
Underactive or an Overactive Thyroid
This disorder affects 1 in 20 people within the UK alone. That is a staggering number. When there is a problem with the thyroid, the body of the metabolic cell inside the hair follicle changes. The result of these changes means the hair follicles will be less stimulated, which means the eyelashes will have a slower renewal growth.
If you are applying eyelash extensions to a client suffering with a thyroid issue you may notice that their eyelashes have fallen out without any sign of the new baby lash ready to take its place. The natural lashes will also be finer and shorter compared to someone with no health issues.
To ensure this client gets the best from their eyelash extensions keep them thin and short, informing the client that they could lose their lashes sooner due to their thyroid issues.
It is estimated that 1 in 17 people in the UK have diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed) With this high number you are almost certain to come across a client who is diagnosed with diabetes.
When a person suffers from diabetes it means that their bodies ability to respond or produce a hormone called Insulin is impaired. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose within the blood.
If your client has diabetes that is NOT under control with either their diet or insulin medication, then the hair follicles will be starved from glucose.
If this is the case then you will see that your clients eyelashes will be weaker than normal as the lack of glucose results in weak natural lashes.
When lashing a client who is newly diagnosed they are likely to be 'uncontrolled' for a while. You must take this into consideration. As the lashes will be weaker you will need to keep the lash extensions short and light weight.
As we know their lashes will be weak already but also until their insulin levels are 'controlled' their lashes may continue to weaken. You do not want to cause any damage with the extensions.
Explaining this to your client is paramount!
Some common diseases that are generally considered autoimmune include celiac disease, diabetes mellitus type 1, Graves' disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
These diseases will change the metabolic cells of the hair follicles similar to Thyroid conditions. This results in damage with in the hair follicles of the eyelashes, these will cause the clients natural eyelashes to fall out sooner than normal.
When treating a client with an autoimmune disease you must keep the lash extensions light weight and short. You must explain to your client the reasons for this and that the health of their natural lashes are your main priority.
Chemotherapy is a very powerful form of treatment and is very toxic. Should a client have an illness that requires chemotherapy as part of the treatment then you must assess whether your client is a suitable candidate for eyelash extensions.
As the toxins from the chemotherapy treatment reach the hair follicles they will destroy the hair follicle cells. This happens because the task of the chemotherapy drug is to attack and kill off any cells which divide (grow) at a fast rate, for example, cancerous growths, unfortunately our hair follicles do to.
When it comes to eyelash extensions we must take this into consideration. If you apply extensions and your client has already started to see some hair loss, then their lashes are likely to fall out too. Applying lashes may make them fall out sooner as they will not be strong enough to hold the extension.
Some clients may not experience hair loss during their treatment so can be lashed, I would keep them short and light though.
If your client is struggling to accept their hair loss and just wants to feel pretty then of course, apply some light weight volume and explain that they may not last as they are losing their hair.
Each client will need to be treated differently according to their needs.
Stress is one of the biggest triggers to health problems. Not managing this can have a very negative impact within the body. As the body is continuously trying to protect itself it will register the stress levels. If your levels are higher than normal your body will find ways to save energy in an attempt to lower the stress.
One of the ways it does this is to send all of the hairs into their 'resting' stage prematurely. No matter where the hair was within its cycle the hair will be put to rest, which is known as the Telogen Stage.
This means that all the lashes will be at the same stage and are likely to fall out all at once. When they do there will not be a new hair behind it to take its place as the whole cycle was put to a stop.
No improvement will be seen until the body is recovering from the high stress levels and is more healthy.
Signs that your client may be suffering from stress related hair loss or weakening will included unexplained lash loss, if they have suffered a traumatic experience and if they have no other health issues.
As a lash artist you can continue to lash your client but only if there are natural lashes healthy enough to carry an extension. If when your client returns and there is no natural lashes left or just sparse 'baby' lashes (Anagen) than you will not be able to carry out another treatment until their natural lash cycle returns.
You can recommend ways for your client to 'de-stress' such as regular exercise, a good clean diet, plenty of water, yoga and making time for her/himself.
Excessive use of Vitamin A or Vitamin C
Although it is common for clients not to consider their daily vitamins as medication, it still is absorbed into the body in the same way. Having too much is not good for the body, it will only be able to use and store so much then the rest will be sent through to the liver for clearing.
If the body has too much vitamin A or C then this will make the bodies sebum levels higher. Sebum is the bodies natural oil. To much of this and we can see the effects within our skin, it will be oily and usually spotty and in our hair, it will become greasy easily. Prime example of someone with high levels of natural sebum is teenagers.
How will this affect your clients eyelash extensions?
Too much oil on the skin and hairs will break up the glue bond between the natural lashes and the extensions. Resulting in poor retention.
Ensuring your clients lists their vitamins in the medication part of their record card is so important.
If you have a client that is not taking vitamins but still has high sebum levels then make sure your use a primer to fully remove any oil from the natural lashes before you start your treatment. Make sure your client keeps up with the cleansing of the lashes at home to make sure there is no oil build up.
Time for some good news! There are some good side effects from medical conditions and medicines!
During pregnancy the female body will have high amounts of estrogen. This hormone will be help your lashes grow long and strong, allowing you to give your client lovely lash extensions.
Once the baby has been born and the mothers hormone levels rebalance you may notice your clients lashes falling out quicker. This is because the hairs stay in the resting stage for longer, once the hormones are rebalancing, and by this I mean, all over the place, all these hairs shed at the same time. It happens with the hair on the head also and is completely normal.
You will need to reassure your client that their lash cycle will settle down as their body recovers from the pregnancy.
As most contraceptives contain Estrogen they tend to have a positive effect on the eyelashes. Again, estrogen will make the lashes grow strong and healthy meaning you can lash them to your heart's content! Yay!
Vitamin B complex is found in protein which is the building block of our bodies. Without this your body will not recover or renew itself.
If your client takes a vitamin B complex supplement, vegans are known to supplement with this, then you can bet they have healthy long lashes.
Encourage your client to stay healthy and their lashes will always be lush.
Helpful? I would love to hear your stories of lashes affected by medication.